Nigeria’s controversial pension plea bargain judges, Talba, Naron of Osun, and Archibong were disciplined on ethical grounds.
The National Judicial Council in a late night meeting on Wednesday recommended the immediate compulsory retirement of three controversial judges. They are Abubakar Talba, Thomas Naron, and Charles Archibong.
In a meeting presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Mukhtar, at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja, the NJC called for the immediate compulsory retirement of the judges on ethical grounds.
The recommendations will go to President Goodluck Jonathan who has the power of final approval. Mr. Talba was the judge who sentenced a self-confessed pension thief, Yakubu Yusufu, to two years in prison each on a three-count charge with an option of fine of N250,000 on each charge.
Mr. Yusufu had pleaded guilty to stealing N2 billion of about N30 billion he was charged with by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. He promptly paid the fine and was set free though later arrested and tried on another charge by the commission.
The commission said Mr. Talba reneged on a verbal agreement it had with the accused and the judge that the convict be jailed without an option of fine.
The second judge, Mr. Naron, was investigated by the NJC for the scandalous ruling he led three other judges to give as the first election petition tribunal in Osun State after the controversial 2007 elections.
Mr. Naron and the other judges are believed to have been compromised by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government of the then governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Call records later showed that Mr. Naron and Mr. Oyinlola’s lawyer, Kunle Kaleijaye, were having secret discussions prior to the controversial ruling.
Mr. Oyinlola was to later be sacked by the Court of Appeal and replaced with the authentic winner of the election, Rauf Aregbesola.
The NJC also recommended Mr. Kalejaiye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to the Nigeria Bar Association for punishment for his role in the scandal.
The third judge disciplined by the NJC is Justice Archibong who presided over the case of alleged rogue banker, Erastus Akingbola.
More details later.